Posted: Jan 29, 2013 11:30 AM
 
"We didn't do it this way when you were a baby!" Sound familiar? Your mom may mean well, but that doesn’t always make it easier when it comes to raising your little one. Discover mothering your way... without causing tension with your mom (or mother-in-law)!

Repeat after me: This is your baby.

Think the grandmas have a lot of advice during pregnancy? Baby, you ain't heard nothin' yet! Your parenting style may be quite different than your mom's was when you were a baby — and that's OK.

A mom and grandma who agree to disagree

Jen Hughes, mom of a 7-1/2 and 2-year-old, believes in co-sleeping with her kids. Her mom? Not so much.

"I think at first I was kind of disappointed that my mom was not on the same page as me when it came to co-sleeping with my kids," says Hughes. "I wanted her to be in my corner."

I didn't like the co-sleeping situation, [but] it wasn't important for me to push my way and be right because it was her life and the decision was hers.

While her mom didn't agree with her choice, Hughes appreciates the fact her mom respected her parenting decision. She says, "She has never been judgmental about our decision to co-sleep. [She] doesn't make passive-aggressive or snarky comments. She even goes as far as to support us with co-sleeping when we visit them by making sure that they rearrange the furniture when we visit — moving the mattress that we sleep on from the bed to the floor. Also, when she or my dad watch the kids, they have always co-slept with them to get them to bed, too."

Her mom, Elaine, explains, "I didn't like the co-sleeping situation, [but] it wasn't important for me to push my way and be right because it was her life and the decision was hers and [her husband's]. I think many moms have difficulty with this. They live through their children, never being able to recognize them as separate beings with their own needs, attitudes, beliefs and desires. One of the hardest steps a mom has to take is to let go of her child in this way. But, it makes for a much better long term relationship."

Expert advice for moms — and their moms

Unless they observe abuse, grandparents are best to put a muzzle on their mouths and not share their personal opinions and judgments.

Child and family psychotherapist, Dr. Fran Walfish says, "Unless they observe abuse, grandparents are best to put a muzzle on their mouths and not share their personal opinions and judgments. I can't tell you how many adult couples I treat who moan and complain about meddling grandparents and in-laws. It only causes strain and stress in couples and generally does not lead to good."

As for Jen and Elaine? Jen says, "In the end, I feel like it was a perfect resolution. We both were able to be true to what we felt was right, we heard each other out and respect each other's opinions. And as a result, I feel like my relationship with my mom is much stronger."

Read more about life with baby and grandparents

5 ways to get comfortable with your new baby
Scared to let Grandma babysit?
Should your parents be in the delivery room?

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Galit Breen January 30, 2013
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These are such important things to think about - I'm so glad you put this topic out there!